NEC, Political Parties Wrangle Over Mid-term Election Shift

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MONROVIA, August 7 (LINA) -The James M. Fromoyan conference room at the National Elections Commission (NEC) was Wednesday the scene of a political squabble over a recommendation by the NEC to postpone the Mid-term Senatorial Election from October 2014 to January 2015.

During a consultative meeting with political party and independent candidates, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya recommended the postponement of the senatorial election due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus that is ravaging the country.

However, some political party and independent candidates who attended the meeting argued that there was no state of emergency or any Constitutional matter that could give rise to the NEC’s decision, noting that doing so would be tantamount to abrogating the Liberian Constitution.

The politicians stressed that the postponement of any elections must be done through legal means to avoid tampering with the Constitution.

Mr. Blamo Nelson of the United People’s Party (UPP) argued that the NEC is not the Ministry of Health to speak about the gravity of the disease in the country, and the effect it might have on the people.

He, therefore, said the election should go ahead as scheduled.

Former Margibi County Senator Roland C. Kaine of the Unity Party (UP) agreed with Mr. Nelson, noting that postponing the election without legal means will be unconstitutional.

However, Korkoya explained that in the wake of the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic, the Commission could not assure the public of holding credible, free and fair elections.

He pointed out that there are some areas in Liberia that have already been earmarked by the government to be quarantined because of the high rate of Ebola infections in those areas.

Korkoya also said the holding of the election in the midst of the rising Ebola death toll in the country cannot be possible.

The National Elections Commission is scheduled to open campaigning on September 12, 2014 to enable candidates vying for Senatorial seats to campaign in their various constituencies.

After hours of arguments, NEC and the politicians agreed that the Commission approaches the Executive to do the postponement legally in order to avoid a constitutional crisis.